Felipe Massa has admitted that making a poor getaway at the start probably cost him a shot at victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, but also revealed that his Ferrari had battled fuel consumption concerns in the closing stages.
The Brazilian has stunned onlookers by qualifying second – ahead of new team-mate Fernando Alonso – on his return from serious injury but, despite initially getting the jump on the Spaniard, was out-manoeuvred at turn one, as Alonso grabbed the inside line for turn two.
“I just had a very bad start, with no grip, so I couldn't go forward,” Massa related, “In the first braking zone, I just lost the opportunity to be there fighting. I did the first corner inside, but then Fernando was in a good position outside and, at the corner, it was to his side, so there was nothing to do.”
Although polesitter Sebastian Vettel pulled out an early gap over the chasing Ferraris, Alonso and Massa were able to reel him after the pit-stops and, when the Red Bull faltered with what transpired to be a spark plug problem, pounced to complete a 1-2 result for the Prancing Horse.
Having run in close contention with Alonso to the point of Vettel's problem, however, Massa began losing ground in the closing stages, eventually crossing the line 16 seconds adrift of his team-mate. Both F10s had had engine changes prior to the race, but Massa insisted that the problem was not related to the team's earlier concerns.
“Apart from the start, I was really happy with the balance of the car, so it was okay to follow whatever tyres I used, the car was just fantastic,” he reported, “Unfortunately, I had to save fuel for about 30 laps, which lost me the chance to do even a small fight.
“I had a problem for the whole race in terms of temperature in the car. That made for a lot of fuel consumption, so I started to save fuel maybe in the last 25 laps, even 30 laps. I was saving fuel and there was nothing to do anymore. I was lucky with the problem for Sebastian Vettel, [which allowed me] to pass him and gain some more points, and I was lucky that Lewis [Hamilton] was not so quick at the end, so I could manage to save a lot of fuel and also hold position. It was very similar to Barcelona, when I had to save a lot of fuel last year, but Barcelona was just a few laps and, here, it was maybe 25, 30 laps."